Broken down, feeling naked, leaving me unfulfilled. Promising compromise, championing mediocrity. Time and time again, what you said ain't what you mean. Even if all my bones are broken, I will drag myself back from the edge to kill the king.
The discussion over the new sound of F1 is still looming, although it hasn't been a week since the continental circus left Melbourne. There's no reason to think, though, that people will not befriend the new experience, evidently something irreversibly disappeared from The Greatest Show On Earth.
I tend to think that the worst type of so called race fans - NASCAR included - come from the F1 camp. Embodiment of cognitive dissonance. At one end they shout 'evolution', 'progress', 'technology', 'tradition' and 'history' at the other one they are all about 'no passing', 'boredom' and 'no sound'. Whatever the reason is, they find one to moan about.
I personally don't have a problem with the new engines. I find them fascinating and intriguing, but I do feel for those who feel like being left with some volumes of adult magazines instead of the promised lap dancing at their birthday party. There are alternatives to it, but everyone loves going for the 'real thing', whatever that means. There was a time through the '70s to most of the '90s when sponsors linked to guilty pleasures were welcome in F1 with open arms, which - in turn - generated technology, which then was turned into a show.
Since it is no longer the case, the angle of the fork representing technology and show respectively is getting bigger and bigger. Combine that with a global financial crisis and you get the touchiest period to push some new regulations through, which - by principle - should favour one of the ends of the afore-mentioned fork and - again by principle - shall choose moving towards the technological tip given the environment.
Can we have the show and technology at the same time?
Perhaps I should rephrase that.
Should we have the show and technology at the same time?
Bernie opposed the turbo engines from day one they were conceived. Not because he cares about how these engines sound like personally, but he rather knows what works in showbiz and what doesn't. To make a V6 turbo interesting for the general audience? Hell of a work. To make the N/A engines attractive? Just sit back and enjoy, everybody (well, the fans) loves them. Also, here are problems surrounding these new power plants, potentially driving the series towards a split, which is not healthy when you try to maintain a business model that barely works in the first place.
All in all, F1 has to decide where it wants to head to. The fans have to make up their mind about what they prefer. There might just be a solution from the outside.
Bernie is going away soon. Much later than anybody might expect perhaps, but his time is running out, no question about it. He made F1 what it is today (well, perhaps not TODAY) and potentially he is the person responsible for it still kicking around. He created the Greatest Show On Earth and if things turn sour this year, I doubt he would pass away leaving his concept of the GSOE ruined by something he doesn't care about.
Bernie owns the rights to the term GP1, too. Just in case. It has been his joker card for some time now, but he keeps to it until very special occasions. Like when F1 believes it is about to split in half and so. If either the teams pushed hard to get their point across about the new engines and threatened to leave - meaning those who didn't make it - or if the fans indeed were so disappointed of how F1 turned out to be, he could fix that in a nano-second.
Fixing by creating GP1 on the side.
He could buy all the assets of e.g. AutoGP - currently the best sounding racing series, throw a couple of millions at it to make them louder and faster, invite sponsors to join preferably beverage and tobacco companies if he could manage to pull it off, get a few ex-F1 and whatnot stars for the hype, take the whole thing to the middle-East, take it even to second-tier dictatorships, right into city centres with skyline to match, cut TV deals, have the local military to parade around with their fighter jets, have champagne and caviar lying around in the pit area, flood the pre-start grid with celebrities, sheiks, premiers and super-sexy grid girls, get admission tickets for the VIP sectors ludicrously expensive, the rest of them extremely cheap to fill the grand stands from day one and give drivers a free hand on the "rubbin' is racing" area of sports regulations.
Put your hand on your heart and tell me you wouldn't want to see that happening. Not instead of F1, but next to a technologically advanced, relevant, tactical F1.
I would like to see that, and I'm sure Bernie dreamt up something similar. Would he let his legacy driven into the ground? I don't think so and F1 is not heading his way, but it has gone to a period where he can't bring it back any more to make it a fun pass time activity for all audiences.
Bernie, even if for just a few races, make GP1 happen. We don't care if it dies afterwards.
We'd just like to see what F1 could be on the fun side.